Let’s start with some good news? Many I-bike attendees were pleasantly surprised with the turn out and the positive show energy despite pre-show predictions of empty aisles. The not so good news? Many of my two wheeled terrestrial friends in attendance suspect that Interbike could be a trade show Titanic.
From the outside it’s a big, pretty, shiny floater but when you look under the icy surface…..there could be a crash coming. It appears industry suppliers and retailers are violently colliding with I-bike and it’s Nielsen mothership. Some of the passengers are not happy with the new location and it sounds like all of them think the new non-sensical event dates are just that.
Some frigid reality? A scary number of the industry Big Boi’s are gone or showed up this year with a smaller floor presence. Combine that with a series of small but effective shots over the bow from competing trade events and this show vessel could be deep sixing?
So what’s the SS Interbike gotta do to stay afloat?
First? You have to stop this ship before you can turn it around. That means quit spinning, get organized and stop sneaking around the poop deck. Get transparent and communicative starting now.
Second, use the new location and format to start with a clean slate. Break the mold, be a challenger because I-Bike is not the leader it was 10 years ago. It’s buzz and value started to fade when a supplier was allowed to Dirtdemo without any show floor presence and it’s been sliding since. With that said, invest now, make some sacrifices and overcommit. These symbols of re-evaluation will show you’re serious and build back confidence with current and future partners.
Third, bring back the writing show love. Pick a real date that immediatel y precedes the selling season so suppliers and retailers can ship, sell, collect and profit better than before. C’mon this ain’t rocket science.
One more point? Fold in meaningful value adds to your customers with new events, new programs, and new products that your competitors don’t have like a well executed consumer day. Transform and reinvent Interbike into an event that a supplier can’t afford to miss. Right now, they don’t have to like you they just have to want and need you.
BTW? This blog’rant isn’t angry because I love Interbike and have always loved her. And yes, I splooged over her even when I was forced by my previous corporate masters of the universe to push the ill fated BIO show years ago.
I-Bike needs to come to grips that the bicycle industry is one of the few corporate spaces where freaks can thrive and stop acting like corporate raiders. Please sell customers the way they want to be sold.
Final thought? It’s OK that this time next year the only cyclists left in Vegas will be service workers or locals convicted of a DUI. But it’s not OK for Interbike’s future location to be the ocean floor